Joe Pride doesn’t make a habit of skipping grades with his horses.
But he is happy to make an exception for three-year-old Fifteen Rounds who will vault from a midweek placing at Warwick Farm to take on a group of progressive colts and geldings in Saturday’s Listed Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
And the trainer might not stop there.
“I think whoever wins this race is probably going to give their horse a go at the Coolmore Stud Stakes and I’m no different,” Pride said.
“If my horse was to win I’d definitely entertain the thought of travelling him down to Melbourne for that.”
Part owned by racing media personality Ron Dufficy, Fifteen Rounds was put away after scoring on debut at Kembla Grange in May.
He resumed with a minor placing at the same track and was doing his best work late when a last-start third to Mansa Musa who will be among his rivals in the Brian Crowley.
“It’s not very often I deep-end a horse like this but I do think he’s got really good potential in a race with horses full of potential,” Pride said.
“I feel like there’s going to be a couple of really good horses come out of this race and I’d like to think mine is one of them.”
Pride admitted his biggest query on Saturday was the colt’s ability to handle a rain-affected track.
He is more certain about the first-time addition of blinkers having a significant impact on Fifteen Round’s performance.
The horse is still learning how to focus his ability and Pride has been waiting for the right time to make the gear change.
“That’s the idea here putting the blinkers on him. I worked him in them during the week and he worked particularly well,” he said.
“I’ve always thought he needed them but I wanted him to learn a bit of his trade first.”
Fifteen Rounds hasn’t attracted the attention of punters and is a $41 chance.
Betting is dominated by Hawkes Racing’s promising colt Diplomatico, the $3 favourite, and Godolphin’s Roosevelt ($3.30) who is proven in heavy ground.
The Brian Crowley has been a handy lead-up to the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes with Counterattack (2015) and Kuro (2014) both winning it before being placed in the Flemington feature.